Tonic VICE tells our story- Sexual Assault Alcoholics Anonymous

Its taken a very long time to get heard. But I feel today with this article on VICE – The story is now out. Please share everywhere.

Written by Elizabeth Brown

posted November 11, 2017

Women are encouraged to “look for their part” in what’s happened to them.

still believe in the foundation of AA because it did save my life and help me get sober almost ten years ago,” says Adrian Wilson. She tells me she had been in the program for six years when she met a man at an Alcoholics Anonymous barbecue hosted by her female sponsor. The man asked for her card, saying he could help promote her clothing business. Wilson says she checked with her sponsor as to whether the man was a “safe” person and was told “yes—he’s an elder with 30 years sober.” A few weeks later, Wilson alleges that she went on a bike ride with him and then stopped by his house for waffles where he proceeded to sexually assault her “in every way, shape, and form.”

Wilson says she drove to her sponsor’s house, hysterical, immediately after the rape where her sponsor told her not to call the police or go to the hospital because “everyone in AA will hate you.” She suggested that instead, Wilson “get on [her] knees and pray, work the steps, and look for [her] part in what happened.”

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12 thoughts on “Tonic VICE tells our story- Sexual Assault Alcoholics Anonymous

  1. Thanks for getting this out there, I was harassed/assaulted by a 12 stepper and his excuse was “I’m an addict, I have no boundaries.”

  2. I have been in AA for 15 years and your Vice article to me sounds like anti cult propaganda. Of course I am not discounting or invalidating the claim that there are fkt up peopl in any of the”A’s”, nor that such abuse occurs.

    I am saying that I was always taught to treat people with respect. Also, I am saying that the ‘look for your part’ means that we look there to find the things that block us from having peace, not to prevent or exclude us from placing blame. I’ve nevr heard anyone ever called “elders”. In AA. Nor have I ever heard of anyone asking their sponsor if someone is ok to date. Any more than someone would ask any friend about another friend. Those fellowships probably should be called a cult. But it is not AA, It is that particular meetings, because there is no “AA as a whole” that people can even indict as to being a cult or propmoting a culture of abuse; That also is a misunderstanding and misrepresentation of what AA is. It’s a shame on both counts: the people who let it happen. And the vice article.

    Sounds like 1) whoever those poeple were who got abused and were told not tell anyone: read the Book to verify whether what you hear in meeting is correct, so far as what to do and how to do it. 2) The article Sounds alarmist. 3) so many people who don’t get sober in AA find fault with it. I’ll be glad when it gets less popular .

    Any fellowship that functions in the way the article describes is so obviously sick, someone should call them out.

    • LANCE_ YOUR comment is the kind that women have been dealing with for way too long.

      Leets talk about sexual harassment in the 1950’s in the workplace when it was common place. Its not anymore.

      you said Nor have I ever heard of anyone asking their sponsor if someone is ok to date.

      In A huge Cult like meeting called The Pacific Group and the Atlantic group FOXHALL groups there is systemic abuse of women and men from Clancy. YES in AA this happens. So dont call them elders…AA members know they are called OLD TIMERS. SHE IS NOT AN AA member. SO what. She is a journalist.

      • This is the usual step guru accusation has a ‘resentment’ cant possibly understand the ‘power of ‘ made up multi gods..but most importantly the denial. Jeez I thought Aa promoted honesty, however it would seem that it is selective denial.
        So thanks for the evidence to call out yet another Aa member constitutionally being unable to be honest with themselves. Yes there are old timers and day your ego will be one lol..if not already but then you may just be ‘pink clouding’ aaah dear who knows what they mean anymore.

  3. I was in three abusive relationships with men from AA. They sexually, physically abused and assaulted me and my cats, and also emotionally abused me. They were predatory men who I’m pretty sure had a history of being so. People knew that some of this was going on and didn’t do anything to stop it. I was also sexually assaulted before coming to AA and my sponsor said that I had a part in it because I was drinking and an alcoholic (when really I was targeted because I was a college student), and people would say things to women who were in domestic violence like, you chose him, or you’re the common denominator, etc etc. I moved out of the community where all this happened, and in my new community, when I started talking about the domestic violence and abusive relationships I’d been in (two had been domestic violence) I would get ostracized and hear blaming statements and was unable to make any friends in the new AA community. I know then, that this kind of blaming behavior didn’t just happen in one of the communities I have lived in. I liked the article I shared because I could relate to it. Also, none of my experiences happened to me in early sobriety; they happened to me a couple of years into the program with men who had multiple years of sobriety. And yes, I did ask my sponsor what I should look for when dating men, and she said: “A man who has at least a year of sobriety and has worked the steps.” So apparently even men who fulfill those guidelines can still be abusive. And when it comes to the my part thing, even saying things that are we are holding on to, etc, is not usually the problem that I am really having when it comes to most things in life. Usually I have to work through emotions, or process abuse, or something like that, and the best way that I can do that is through a counselor, not through 5th step work in AA with a sponsor who is not trained in counseling techniques or psychology. This whole looking at my part, I have found, simply holds me back from truly processing and moving forward from abuse. I did about 5 or 6 fifth steps and it never helped me to process what I’d been through- in fact it held me back, because what I ended up doing was I did not really feel my emotions, including anger, which is necessary to heal, and AA tells us not to feel. So at this point, my counselor says that I have outgrown AA and the methods in it. The reason why I drank in the first place is early childhood abuse; not because I’m selfish, or because I have character defects. And before someone in AA decides to get defensive towards me on this one, consider that I do know that AA works for many people. Thank you for this article and I hope that someone can relate to my story.

  4. HI RUTH – This is horrific !!! I want to do my best to help you in any way I can.

    I have some private groups on FACEBOOK that have alot of action and support. If you want that.

    Let me know .

  5. AA helped me in many ways. But ultimately, it failed me because the members speak of principles they do not have the strength of character to live by. At 2 years sober, I began dating a man in AA. He had 8 years sober and I naively believed that made him dateable and safe. The truth was that he was a known womanizer and incapable of maintaining a long-term relationship. He slept his way through woman after woman and when he got to me, not one woman friend of mine who had seen his behavior mentioned it to me. I was not one of the women who slept with multiple people in the group. In fact, I was celibate for years before I met him. He gave me an STD which thank G d has cleared. He asked me to marry him and I said yes. I was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly thereafter and halfway through chemo, he began emotionally abusing me. As I was home cleaning his house with my bald head, he was out cheating on me with another misbegotten AAer. I didn’t know he was cheating…my gut told me he was and eventually he admitted it. Devastated and humiliated, I couldn’t bring myself to return to meetings. During my hiatus, all my friends, including my sponsor posted pictures of themselves eating at restaurants with him and the girl he cheated on me with and got immediately pregnant. The sense of betrayal was devastating and because I no longer attended, nobody called me My “friends” vanished. When someone did talk to me, I was told he deserved unconditional love and forgiveness. I did not one thing to him or anyone and it was my apparently duty to understand that my girlfriends were not wrong for breaking bread with a man who kicked a breast cancer survivor when she was down. I did try to go back but when I did, someone would scold me for being away or imply that I needed AA. I needed loyal friends with appropriate values. I needed the unconditional love he was granted simply because he showed up. The truth is, all societies have good and bad and only AA decides both are equal. I vehemently disagree with that notion. I am far better than a sober thief, a sober man who destroys a cancer survivor for shits and giggles, and sober man who is violent. I will never step through another door decorated with an ugly triangle. My life is good and it is my own. My friends are real and true and do not blindly love anyone who devastates me because they are loyal and true. I am free

    • ANDREA- OMG – I am soo sorry – this is very very disturbing. I had breast cancer too- I was so glad I was long gone from AA when I go it. The way that the women stick with the predators is such a reflection of AA misogyny – – its so out Dated 1930’s style- 1950’s — its antiquated.
      If you wanna join our group on FACEBOOK let me know.

      Or email me at My heart goes out to you .

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